Hooker depth great for Eels: De Gois

Only weeks away from finishing his first pre-season with Parramatta, veteran hooker Isaac De Gois believes the battle for the Eels' No.9 jersey between himself and Nathan Peats will end up being beneficial for the club.

When Peats went down clutching at his knee midway through the 2014 season the Eels were left reeling, with their star recruit rubbed out for the remainder of the year.

At the time the club's back-up hooker Kaysa Pritchard was still two weeks away from returning from a shoulder injury and coach Brad Arthur deemed Luke Kelly and Kenny Edwards unsuitable for the full-time role. Enter Isaac De Gois. 

After only starting in two games in the past season and a half at Cronulla, De Gois signed with the Eels with a plan of rejuvenating his career. 

De Gois did just that, beginning each game for the rest of Parramatta's season while remaining a defensive rock in the middle of the paddock where he averaged 40.2 tackles per game.

"It was a fresh start and a change for me which in effect was something I needed. I backed myself and I jumped ship and it worked out brilliantly for me," De Gois told NRL.com. 

"I managed to play some good footy and it was just unfortunate we didn't get those last couple of wins we needed to make the semis."

Now with Peats ready to return, De Gois was unsure who had the inside running for the hooker spot or whether Arthur would utilise only one or both of them in his top 17.

"I don't know what BA's plans are but all Peatsy and I can continue doing is train hard. If you speak to Peatsy, he's coming off a knee reconstruction and training the house down. I'm doing everything I possibly can too and really it's a great position for the club to be in," he said.

"The trials will play a part in how it'll pan out but all we can do is play our best. We'll continue making it a hard decision for Brad. I'm just looking forward to playing footy again because really it's just around the corner."

Having just turned 30 and heading into his 10th season of NRL football, De Gois has an extra incentive willing him on this season – the chance to play his 200th game.

Only 14 short of the milestone, De Gois said his experience should hold him in good stead heading into a season "hopefully" free of injuries.

"I think playing one game of first grade is always tough so if I do get to 200 it will be great. It will be a massive milestone for me and it's just a matter of staying fit and healthy now," he said.

"I don't think pre-season gets any easier though. As you get older you tend to train a bit wiser and smarter. This is my 10th pre-season so it has been good to do it with a new team and at a new club.

"Everyone is getting along and this pre-season has been pretty good – most players will tell you that this time of the year is the worst time to be a footballer – but it has been enjoyable."